Case Study- Kayla Puleston

Image Kayla Puleston fell pregnant in year 11, just before her GCSEs started. She was determined to carry on with her education and therefore took one of her exams when she was 38 weeks pregnant and completed the others with a newborn baby.

Kayla says that she always knew she didn’t want to stop studying despite having a child to take care of. She says, “Since I first found out I was pregnant, I promised myself I would carry on even after baby was born”. And within 6 weeks of her daughter Amelie’s birth, she went back into education, starting a course at the Manor Unit at Grey’s Education Centre, an educational institution specifically designed for young mothers who are resolute in their aim to carry on learning. Kayla says that this was a brilliant place to be as she could learn without leaving her daughter with a child-minder and miss out on the bonding experience, which was a big worry for her.

After leaving the Manor Unit, Kayla started a course at Health and Social Care at Dunstable College, where she is currently studying. She has one year left on the programme and, when she graduates, she plans to study nursing and midwifery at Southampton with the aim to become a midwife for the National Health Service. She says, “I have always wanted to be a midwife, and having my daughter so young made me realise what a fulfilling, amazing career it really was”.

Although Kayla seems to be constantly positive, she admits that, at times, being a student parent has been a challenge. She found it a struggle to leave Amelie when she was only a year old as it was the first time they had been apart for a significant amount of time. However, when she misses her daughter, she tells herself to remember why she is at college “and why it is so important to power through the hard times – to give my daughter the life she deserves in the future”.

Kayla speaks very highly of a “great” fund from the government – which she receives – which supports mothers under the age of 19 called ‘Care to Learn’. She – and other young mothers wanting to get back into education – receives free college tuition as well as help paying for her child minding and transport needs. She says ‘Care to Learn’ is a huge help and says ‘I don’t need to worry financially”.

Kayla is unwavering in her belief that it is crucial for young mothers to go back into education. She says, “I know it’s hard to go back into education when you have an amazing newborn baby at home, but in the long run your education and qualifications are what’s going to pay for your child’s future. I believe that no child deserves to not have a meal at night, and due to young mothers not going back into education and ‘living off the government’ there are children out there doing just that. Your education will eventually be what gets you a job, and so it pays for all the things your child will want and need in the future. I couldn’t imagine living the rest of my life without a steady income of my own – and not being able to give my daughter the things she wants in life”.

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